Vinitaly vs Prowein
Italy’s propensity for self-harm is particularly virulent this year in the world of wine. A number of producers continue to complain about Vinitaly and have implied, without admitting, that 2017 may be their last appearance at Italy’s wine trade fair held at Fiera di Verona. They hinted that starting next year they will only take part in Dusseldorf’s Prowein trade fair because it is better organized, more efficient and attracts more international importers and buyers. While this may, indeed, be the case and there is no denying that Prowein is growing in importance, there is more than a reasonable doubt whether these producers will be benefit more from promoting themselves abroad than at home. Vinitaly has its organizational problems but improvements have been made in recent years and it exclusively showcases Italian wines. The whole world, on the other hand, takes part in Prowein where Italian wines risk being reduced to being a sparring partner or a secondary participant as opposed to playing a central role as they do in Verona. Thus opting for Prowein over Vinitaly could end up backfiring. It would also risk weakening an event that for decades has been pivotal for Italian exports. And all this because of the misguided belief that the grass is always greener somewhere else. An open a debate on how to improve Vinitaly would be more than welcome and beneficial, especially if it involves producer and sector organizations like the Italian Wine Union (UIV), the winemakers federation Federvini, the Italian Federation of Independent Winemakers (FIVI), the Cooperatives’ Alliance and so on. I believe that no subject is off limits but at the same time do not understand this constant stream of criticism that benefits no one. And I say this representing a publication that accepts no advertisements from Vinitaly. The situation becomes paradoxical when you consider that Summa, a wine fair that has been organized for some 20 years by Alois Lageder in Alto Adige on the same day the Vinitaly opens and is an alternative to it, has plans to offer a shuttle service to it leaving from the Verona trade fair grounds. It would be interesting to discover how many of international journalists invited to Vinitaly, with their travel expenses paid for by the Italian Foreign Trade Institute (ICE), have also been invited to attend Summa, without the latter having to cover any costs and thus exploiting a competing event. Should this indeed be the case, even in part, it would be for me an unforgivable new low.